An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
I can't help but think of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as I read all the debate about how easy/hard it is to learn how to operate an iPhone.The principle basically boils down to this: The more you know, the less you understand.
I'd go more Schrödinger's cat - if you put a journalist and an iPhone in a sealed box, you can never know if he's shooting video or playing AngryBirds. Opening the box to check would 'ruin the shot' on either....
@ 9:03 ... And just what would the cat be doing?
There have been a couple layoffs in USAT Advertising. Jim, check it out.
I have to agree with previous posters that a paywall will not save Gannett. I get 15 articles a month free from sites like the New York Times and Milwaukee J-S without subscribing, and I don't think I find anywhere close to 15 a month worth clicking on at the Gannett sites I check. This will continue to get wrose as more newsroom cuts take effect.There is always state AP and other local news outlets like TV and radio only too happy to give it away and take the GCI clickers.
9:07 - I think I saw something about cat breading in yesterday's threads..... ;)
Repost from previous thread:For the record, paywall is not the term of choice among the execs at GCI. You can says it's just semantics, but the correct term is "subscription model."As in, our properties produce content and our consumers need to subscribe to that content with a paid subscription. It makes no difference how they get that content - print, iPad, smart phone, crystal ball. Wherever they get it, they are going to pay a fee for receiving it.In retrospect, it's what newspapers should have been doing all along, but alas, hindsight is 20/20.Regardless, a paywall implies they are just suddenly blocking something that previously was free. "We built a wall." (That's a negative to consumers.)"Subscription model" implies we produce daily/weekly news and feature content and you need to subscribe to it. We will offer you a variety of ways and combinations to subscribe, but we don't give our product away for free. (That's a more palatable explanation for consumers, as they are used to paying for other products and subscriptions to media - magazines, NetFlix, etc.)Again, you can argue it's all semantics, but it may help you understand how the suits at the CP are framing this change.
Regardless we have whiners here who are negative about both aspects. "You can't give our content away". "You can't charge for our content". But the idea that print is the answer to the future is a joke. Sure print has a place, but it is shrinking. With the rising price of fuel expect it to shrink even more.
now, now, now. You've all lost all of your senses, after all Gannett now has a new porpoise, get on board.
The first 15 columns for free? I didn't know that our papers even produced 15 columns.
9:13 - yes, there have been layoffs at USAT. David Johnson, a good guy and important part of sales process has been let go. I'm sure there are others, but David stands out. The lunacy continues.
I heard USAT is offering a "verticals only" paywall package.
Today on Lansing State Journal website - but not *in* the Lansing State Journal: "Due to a production error, the Business page and one Sports page were not included in today’s Lansing State Journal print editions.Stories on those page are available at LSJ.com.We apologize for any inconvenience."http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20120224/NEWS01/302240050/Our-apologies-missing-pages?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
Dubow belongs in Jail.
Is Detroit joining the paywall? USA Today appears not to be.
WTF, 10:48. I'd be curious as to the back story on that snafu.
Thanks, 9:35 AM, that explanation of the "content subscription model" vs. "paywall" is very on-target.
With writing/editing like this, I wouldn't pay a plugged nickel for stories on this site.The men left less than five minutes after they entered the store, taking with them armfuls of shirts, hats and the even the hangars the clothing was on.
Yes, 9:35, thanks for the example of Gannett doublespeak.But no matter how much the Company wants to cast it as a new subscription model, it is what it is: a wall that readers will have to pay to get past.Now, what is the best way to describe that?
Seems like Carolyn Washburn doesn't like criticism of any kind. Even debates with readers in an online chat: Check it out:http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=chats&odyssey=mod|dnmiss|umbrella|1
Content problems that bode ill for a paywall in NJ:Small errors such as "ecomonic" in a headline and larger flaws such as a chart today that had four columns of identical municipal aid figures for 57 towns. This chart accompanied an article on changes in school aid funding. The 18th graf down mentioned municipal aid and the fact that it is not changing. If four categories of state aid are staying exactly the same, do I really need to see a graphic with rows of identical numbers as proof? What about the changes that the article is all about?
Questions Washburn likely won’t publicly answer, if at all:- How many people are employed in the Enquirer’s newsroom (not counting the weeklies, verticals, etc.) now versus what it had five years ago?- How many comments are posted on Enquirer stories on average now daily versus the number placed on them prior to switching to Facebook commenting?- What newshole average does she use now in budgeting papers on average per week versus what she will budget for them once they switch to the smaller size papers that Columbus will provide?- Please justify why you felt you were worthy of inclusion in the recent top 20 women to watch?Enquiring minds want to know.
Those questions were moderated. Stay your tongue, impertinent whelp!
What the vast majority of posters here seem to not understand is that it doesn't make any difference if readership drops some after the new paywalls go into effect. Of course it's going to drop. Everyone, including the execs, know that. But the people who do come will be dedicated readers who will spend more time on the site, and also the company will have more demo information on them than before. This is valuable to advertisers. In other words, they can still make money even with fewer readers. Hopefully this will allow Gannett papers to get away from the bar babe shots and the fuzzy animals which are only posted to draw page views.And FYI, as someone else here posted, this has already been tried at three vastly different Gannett markets for more than a year now and it's been a clear success there. That's why the company is moving forward with the "subscription model."
2:29 - Thank you for the informative post. I noticed and appreciated not being talked down to.
@2:29:1. How can you assume the readers who do pay will spend more time on the site? They'll spend as much time as it needs to get what they want from the site. There's no reason to assume they'll spend more time just because they're paying for the right.2. How will The Company have more demographic information about these people? Will they demand more invasive login information as part of the paywall? That's a surefire way to drive more people away.3. Who says it was a success at the 3 test sites? As far as I know, The Company never released specific information about the impact. (And don't assume it was positive just because Gannett is moving ahead nationally; that presumes our leadership is capable and intelligent, and their actions have long proved that to be false.)
USAT is trying to force out some of its older employees. They aren't being offered buyouts. Instead, they are being treated poorly, silently threatened. Really crappy thing to do to people who still have a lot to offer. What's worse is that certain employees, regardless of age or competency level, appear to remain untouchable year in and year out. USAT has been a mean-spirited, toxic pit. Behind all the fun and games and swanky building, this place keeps piling up skeletons in the closet. Amazingly, there are still some naive people who seem oblivious to the lies and poor treatment of their colleagues. It's almost like some people think if they shut their eyes tight enough, they'll never get the pink slip. But when they do, they will be at a disadvantage in the job market. They won't be prepared. So, word to the wise, if you work at USAT, don't get too comfortable, even if you think you are protected. Be prepared. Have an exit strategy or else face a very difficult job search.
From @jodiontheweb: List includes @GannettDigital - w00t!! "Five Publishers to Follow on Pinterest" bit.ly/xdTFC3Jodi Gersh, head of social media for Gannett, and her GannettDigital team have been busy.
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Other questions sent into CW that were not addressed... Comment From Chuck Since readers will be contributing content to the site (via our comments) will we share in the revenue you'll be getting? After all, many (most?) of the comments are better than your content.1:00Comment From Chris the option for 'none' was forgotten in the poll.1:00Comment From Chuck Wow - if the paid site is a awful as this chat session, I won't be paying!1:00Comment From Chuck You sound somewhat defensive Carolyn...1:00Comment From Sallfham Please tell Gannett's CorpComm writers: No such thing as a "first annual" investor day - or anything else.1:00Comment From Chuck So if I create another email address, I can read 5-15 more articles?1:00Comment From John I dislike Facebook's entire model. The fact that you lose all sense of privacy, and agree to do so, means I won't use it. Thus, you lose my on-line opinion if you force me to use it. DISLIKE!1:01Comment From Chuck it's the other way around Carolyn. Print stories don't show up online until much later.1:01Comment From Chuck will you print the email address we can use when we have troubles with the site? It seems that you've hidden it...1:01Comment From George Corneliussen My main beef with news coverage is that the reporting never investigates a story beyond it's initial headline or follows the story to it's conclusion. Even if people are willing to subscribe to headline-only news, does that justify stripping reporting down to a simply list of headlines?1:01Comment From Rodger I think an amazing model is Entertainment Weekly1:01Comment From Carl I certainly admire the courage Gannett has demonstrated with this decision. It will result in a lot of layoffs b/c your readership will drop.1:01Comment From Bill Why are you talking about the prices, rather than how you are going to improve content?1:02Comment From I apologize for going off-topic, but I have always wondered what the exact process is for proofreading of stories. I am frequently horrified by the number of typographical, spelling, and grammar errors that are exhibited in ENQUIRER stories, particularly online. Is there an actual proofreading process? Don't get me wrong; I appreciate the speed with which stories appear, but one would think that trained Journalists could do a better job than I often witness.1:02Comment From Kevin I only read online at work. I understand that you feel like you offer exclusive stories but if the story is significant enough wouldn't other outlets (other sites, TV, Radio, Blogs) pick up on it also and I'd find the information there? Why would I pay for it here?1:02Comment From Dennis Will you dump the FB forum restrictions for the online? I have just about stopped reading the online letters, so boring reading the same 50 or so people.1:02Comment From Chris When I subscribe to ESPN the Magazine, i get online Insider content at no additional charge. Is there that much additional need to charge for online content if I am already buying the print version?1:02Comment From Carl I would pay more for your product if you brought Peter Bronson back.1:02Comment From For anyone who is interested - I, for one, will NOT be paying to access cincinnati.com. (and that's coming from someone who could certainly afford it!) I used to really enjoy reading the articles (and comments!) but I don't feel that it's worth paying for.
Boy, she really went into the trenches for that exchange with readers. My hat's off to her. Ballsy.
Time magazine published this article today on Gannett's paywall strategy,http://business.time.com/2012/02/24/gannetts-big-paywall-play-will-it-work/
3:58PM It is not just at USAT. And at our site, its not silent threats, its right out verbally abusive treatment.
2/23/2012 7:13 PM: Anonymous said... I'm wondering how the people who were offered buyouts are being treated at their papers...At my site, managers are going out of their way to be "polite" almost every contact like a script from HR. The switch to "demeaning duties", at least for some that recevied the buyout offer, started about a year ago. Seems like they were trying to get folks to quit ahead of the buyout. A lot like 2/24/2012 3:58 PM describes what is happening at USAT. There seems to be an attitude that the sooner people sign and are gone, the better.
Looks like Time Magazine let the cat out of the bag. They forgot to use the term "Subscription Model." Oops!
Digiday did a pretty good analysis of Gannett's Paywall strategy."NYT has seen success with its subscription system, but can such a strategy work for the hard-hit local-news business? bit.ly/yxjRU1aywall "
Digiday link was not working. Here it is again.http://www.digiday.com/publishing/will-gannetts-pay-walls-work/
Jodi Gersh to the rescue!!!!!!
I know at my paper, the treatment was the same for buyouts as for layoffs.Still present, people treated one as if one were the living dead -- that is, if one were acknowledged at all.Although maybe acknowledgement was even more Fellini-esque when those who were high-profile were rewarded with "going away" send-offs as if it was all some Disney flick -- the majority with a far less certain future, their worth, their humanity, not slighted in the least.Admittedly a very awkward situation for one's coworkers when most of the newly implanted execs, the leaders, couldn't bother to give anyone the time of day -- bought out, laid off or still retained to be even more overworked, no difference to apparatchiks evidently.For the majority, lots of whispers as if at a funeral, lots of thoroughly familiar projects instantly dropped into completely unfamiliar laps as if a monkey could do the job (a quote from one of the supervisors, who never did the job, stated to a public tour), averted eyes, then hugs. Aww.Lots of the ageist sentiments expressed on Hopkins' blogs are disturbingly naive, though. They are pure stereotype, pure prejudice courtesy of the consumer culture. In my too-long stint, this silly life I thought I had as an intrinsic element, I encountered incompetence on the one hand and skill on the other which freely traversed every generation.When it come to knowing one's stuff, age was irrelevant; job performance and skill sets, that was the standard in a productive business model.Yet Gannett is run not on standards in this or any other industry, but upon the balance sheets of accountants.See those folks who poured their lives into this company for long? Passion is not economically a consideration.Get rid of 'em. Nothin' personal.Hey, small world! The atrocity committed by the SS at Malmedy used the same economic yardstick.
I am so tired of this self righteous, Nazi fixated, individual. Folks he may have been the oddest individual anyone ever met. He was not well liked and his odd behavior scared many. He said he was never coming back here but guess what he can't help himself.
7:12 - Well said. Your words are appreciated.
Thanks, 7:12! So sad but true.
You two are kidding right?
Well, up until the last line, 7:12. Nazi analogies are just a bit much. But we get your drift.
No sense of humor as usual. Nothin' wrong with allusion for debate. I post from time to time, and not as much as "accused," misidentified.I only mean to illustrate a juicy debate.The word is in a dictionary. It's not your parents and whatever else issue might be involved. It's debate.If one has a problem with the posit, disprove it. Yet here all too many can muster is a personal attack. Really. You actually have/had a job in media and one can only manage personal slurs to disprove facts.My god. No wonder. And these folks see nothing wrong with a single thing. These aren't media types.They are salesmen, fast jealous to justify some fairly crappy values, no idea how to discuss disagreement other than character assassination.This happens where? Here.
In the real world, some of my witty abusers have more in common with me than their arrogance presumes, for the benefit of whom, who knows.But if one means to insult me, these posts I make, point made, point taken. Pretty sad, that.I am commenting on my personal experience, just as valid, open to others. This blog is a mult-faceted item. Unlike Gannett, it encompasses several approaches. So if some fixate, great. I'm not the ass you think. And then realize who the hell are you.A beer or so. A dinner. Some jokes.But here? Gannett Blog?
You must either be high on something or in the midst of an olde English thesis. Wtf?
Yoda on dopa..
- How many people are employed in the Enquirer’s newsroom (not counting the weeklies, verticals, etc.) now versus what it had five years ago?Hard question to answer but I will be as transparent as possible. There are 289 today, including all in kinds of things. It doesn't translate to how many actually sit in the newsroom because there are content/journalists all over including the weeklies that produce content for the newspaper. There were close to 400 five years ago, but included many who did things we just don't do anymore that our readers don't want. or can more easily find online. - How many comments are posted on Enquirer stories on average now daily versus the number placed on them prior to switching to Facebook commenting?There has been a 22% decrease with the move. Some will say the comments are more sensical now and to the point. - What newshole average does she use now in budgeting papers on average per week versus what she will budget for them once they switch to the smaller size papers that Columbus will provide?7% reduction but that is merely planning conjecture at this point.- Please justify why you felt you were worthy of inclusion in the recent top 20 women to watch?NCEnquiring minds want to know.
No doubt that Jodi Gersh is posting here.
I think it's called --------- self promotion. I paricularly like the posts where "she rocks."
I think it was the thread about stupid pet photos, that brought them out of the woodwork. Also explains the reference to(Pinterest)social image-sharing.
Regarding - http://www.digiday.com/publishing/five-publishers-to-follow-on-pinterest/ Why does Gannett Digital have such a large number of "following" in comparison to "followers". The other publications are "following" less than 30 others. Gannett Digital is following 985 others.... What is the point of this? ... Was someone in GD tasked with "following" instead of attracting "followers"? Who is initiating all of these followings?
If someone was tasked with this, be extremely vocal when you are asked "why." Be sure to tell them WHO gave you the assignment. This number of followings is a red-flag.
Thanks for the reply 8:47 AM. Here’s some follow-up:- If weekly news staffs are part of Enquirer Media’s all over content/journalist group, then why do such great pay disparities exist and what will result as they will increasingly soon find out? BTW, weekly and daily headcounts/costs still reside on individual budgets do they not? Hence, the totality of cuts to the Enquirer’s daily news staff can easily be found out.- Comments may be down 22%, but basically zero posts on stories that once generated significant numbers (school issues being one) suggest today’s “top commenters” are masking greater losses of a larger, more diverse group of former commenters. It also scotches public dissent as few dare question how schools, firefighters, etc. operate now.- A 7% reduction? Aligning that with Buchanan’s comments that “content will provide more in-depth coverage of topics” and larger photos suggest an even more noticeable decline in content overall, something that paying subscribers already voice concerns about.- NC was expected. I get the financial implications for why many decisions result, but unfortunately, many wrong ones continue to be made...many in a vacuum a few floors up.
Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."
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